A Place Beyond The Priory

 "A Place Beyond the Priory " This is a story about Life in North Shields during the 1900's-1920's Tom Farrow is a third generation coble fisherman, Who meets and falls in love with a young herring girl who has travelled from the isle of Barra in the outer Hebrides looking for work. Margaret Linnie, her two friends Kerstin McDonald and Beth Munro all end up on the gutting line in Tyne Brand - their unscrupulous foreman Albert Mortimer treats all the girls on the line like animals including his wife Lizzie who bares him 11 children. forced into a marriage she did not want, Lizzie is abused by Albert for his own sexual gratification. She was in love with a young Greek boy called Leonidas Kostalas whom she had known from her days at school and lost her virginity to but her father will not allow them to marry- this is a story of love and betrayal and will keep you riveted until the last page is read.

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“Where is the airport?’

The doctor laughed, “there isn’t one; they use the beach to land the plane here.’

Last winter we couldn’t get a supply of food so everyone had to set up a kitchen in the church hall on Brevig and the food was then shared out. The men could not go fishing because the weather was gale force. “Well I hope that we don’t get caught up in it; we were only planning on staying a few days weren’t we Margaret.’

“I see; the doctor looking over at Margaret. Who hadn’t really told Tom how bad the weather could get on Barra.’

Tomorrow we will organise for Gerald Fox to come with his tractor; you cannot leave your boat moored on the pier. It will be smashed to smithereens otherwise.’

“Are you expecting a bad storm?’

“We always expect storms on Barra Tom.’

“How long do they usually last then asked Chris?

“All winter.’

“What, until after Christmas?’

More like March; really I’m quite surprised that you made it out here.’

But we are getting wed in April.

“Well you could sail back in March weather permitting of course; but I would advise you all to fly over next time.’

“Did you know this Margaret asked Tom?’

Yes, but I didn’t expect the weather to last as long; “I thought it would clear after Christmas and that we would be able to travel back again.’

“I’m a fisherman for god sake; how am I to earn a living; Chris and Steve rely on me without fish we cannot live.’

There is always work to do on the Island and I’m sure you will earn enough to keep you in funds until you return said the doctor.

Well that’s a comforting thought isn’t it.’

“I’m sorry Tom; don’t make me feel any worse than what I do now. “ I was a little selfish; I just wanted to see my parents.’

“At my expense said Tom?’

 Margaret stayed silent; there is a solution to this; we just have to work it out.’

How said Chris and Steve; if we cannot sail how are we to get home?’

“Well you could leave the boat here; fly home and then come back when the weather clears up.’

“That would cost a fortune; its money that I haven’t got doctor.’

There was a knock at the door and the doctor went to answer it.’

“Come in Richard they are all in my living room.’

Tom stood up and looked at the big man who would have made two of him.’

“Are you Tom?’

“Yes sir I am.’

“Pleased to meet you Tom; Margaret tells me that you are a fisherman like myself.

“Yes I am but it seems like I’m not going to be able to do any fishing for sometime.’

“Did Margaret not tell you how bad it can get here?’

“Well I was expecting to leave in a few days and return to North Shields.’

Can you still get out in the winter months Tom?

“Not all the time but we do get out.’

“We save for the winter months here on Barra.’

“Come on lets get you over to the house where you can change into something more fitting.’

“Kerstin and Beth we can drop you and you lads off along the way.’

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